I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Like you, we are doing our best to adapt to the COVID-19 public health emergency. FADP is expanding online, electronic, and virtual capacity and capabilities for outreach and actions. All of us in the abolition struggle have learned the value of passion, persistence, and perseverance. Working together, we are enduring. The FADP Board of Directors and I would like to thank you all for your continued support and commitment to our shared cause.
Executions Interrupted. Executions appear to be on hold here and elsewhere in our nation. Some prosecutors continue to seek death sentences; however, death penalty trials and sentencing, as well as criminal court trials, have been postponed. April 6 Florida Supreme Court order.
Court decisions in appeals continue. Last week, the Florida Supreme Court issued two death penalty decisions, (1) upholding the death sentence imposed on Raymond Bright in 2016 in a capital resentencing hearing and (2) clarifying that Mark Anthony Poole is entitled to review of other penalty-phase claims in his case. You may recall that the Florida Supreme Court recently decided that Poole, and others sentenced to death under an unconstitutional non-unanimous jury, would no longer be eligible for sentencing relief.
Florida state and federal prisons could be a powder keg for COVID-19 to explode. 106,000 prisoners are jammed tightly together with very little medical care or cleaning supplies. Visitation has been halted, but more than 20,000 corrections officers, staff, and contract employees come and go. This week, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among DOC prison staff reached 37 and it was just announced that four prisoners in a private prison in Milton have tested positive. Read more here.
Hannah Cox, National Manager for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, spoke of the risk to the 2.3 million people trapped in our nation’s prisons and jails, many who have not been convicted of a crime, “How we uphold the sanctity of human life during this time will speak volumes about who we are as a people, a society, and a nation.”
Be safe and healthy, one and all.
Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
FADP is a non-profit and non-partisan statewide Florida organization of individuals and groups united to abolish the Death Penalty in Florida.